"The Passion in the Proposals Took Us by Surprise"

The stack of papers keeps growing on the desk of Juha Hemanus, Creative Director of Tampere's ECoC bid. He goes through hundreds of programme proposals.

The Whole Region Joins the ECoC Bid of Tampere: “The Passion in the Proposals Took Us by Surprise”

Tampere and Tampere Region’s bid for the European Capital of Culture has progressed to a new phase: In November, programme proposals are carefully being sifted.

The project received nearly 700 programme proposals from all over the region through the proposal form and a couple hundred more via other avenues. Creative Director Juha Hemanus, did the flood of ideas take you by surprise?

“Not so much the amount, but the passion in the proposals was a welcome surprise,” Hemanus says.

The proposals are sifted into the bid-book, and in the coming years, according to Hemanus, “this vision is transformed not only into views and performances for people to see, but also into reality for the people to build.”

Highlighting Participation

Wait a minute. Let’s take a step back and go over the process once more:

Tampere and 19 other municipalities in Tampere Region are applying for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2026.

Next spring, a bid-book for the title must be submitted to the EU, and at the core of a great bid-book is a first-rate, credible and participatory cultural programme for the Capital of Culture year.

There was an open call for cultural programme proposals which closed on October 20th, yielding more proposals than ever expected. Will there be time to carefully go over all of them? What kind of mess is this going to be?

“This is not going to be a mess, but a structured, participatory and inspiring new dimension of living in Tampere and Tampere Region,” Juha Hemanus assures.

He has indeed noticed how the proposals forefront audience participation, creating together.

“Creating together. That is already in Tampere’s DNA, that is what we were looking for and that is what the proposers are also hoping from us. We are all together on this.”

According to Hemanus, the bid’s overarching theme of equality is evident in the proposals, as “the DNA of Tampere has been recognized on every level,” he phrases enigmatically. The proposals also reflect current global themes, such as climate change, but not in an anxiety-inducing or horrified way.

“We are going to offer positive, functional projects, as there’s no sense in staying home worrying about climate change.”

What about the region? How will the rest of Tampere Region be represented?

“There will be 20 of us in 2020. It shows in the proposals.”

“A Visionary and Multidimensional View”

At this stage, no details of the programme proposals will be made public. The proposals are strictly confidential. And of course, the bid for the ECoC title is also a competition.

On a more general level, what Juha Hemanus can describe is the kind of bid-book they intend to compile. Like this:

“A strongly ambitious, visionary and multidimensional view of the future and humanity of Tampere and Tampere Region, our local work and activities; the spirit, creators and details of which will be determined in the following months and years.”

“This is, in accordance with my background, a theatre director’s dream – a vision turning not only into a view and performance for people to see, but this time also into a reality for the people to build.”

The Future Steps

At least two set deadlines can be highlighted in the future steps of the ECoC bid.

Tampere and Tampere Region must submit an official bid-book to the Ministry of Education and Culture no later than October 5th, 2020. Anyone interested in the process can look up other cities’ bid-books online, such as the bid-book of Tampere’s Estonian twin city, Tartu.

Around June, Tampere will send a delegation to face the distinguished selection panel. The panel is comprised of 12 members. To be more exact, ten members are appointed by the European Union institutions and bodies – the European Parliament, Council and Commission appointing three members each and the Committee of Regions appointing one. Two of the members will be appointed by the Finnish Minister of Science and Culture.

The selection panel’s activities are strictly regulated. For example, the panel members aren’t allowed to visit the candidate cities on their own. Any kind of lobbying is also prohibited.

The selection panel will likely choose two cities from Finland for the next phase. After that, these cities are given a few months more to expand and elaborate on the bid-book. The final selection will be announced in 2021.

More information about the selection process through this link.

Juha Hemanus

Juha Hemanus seuloo ohjelmaehdotuksia.